World

COP27: Treaty against fossil fuels launched

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt –

The world should confront climate change the way it does nuclear weapons, by agreeing to a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that stops producing more fossil fuels, an island nation leader said. small proposal Tuesday as vulnerable nations push for more action and money at international climate negotiations.

“We all know that the leading cause of the climate crisis is fossil fuels,” Tuvalu Prime Minister Karors Natano told his counterparts. So his country has “joined Vanuatu and other countries calling for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty… It’s getting too hot and there’s little (little) time to slow down and It is therefore essential to quickly prioritize actionable strategies to avoid the most warming.”

Vanuatu and Tuvalu, along with other vulnerable countries, have exercised their moral authority in negotiations, especially in the face of major climate disasters. The idea of ​​a non-proliferation treaty for coal, oil and natural gas has been supported by churches, including the Vatican and some scientists, but Natano’s speech created a greater momentum in front of a global audience.

A year ago at the climate talks in Glasgow, a proposal calling for coal to be “removed” – the dirtiest fossil fuel – was changed at the last minute to “staged down” by demand. from India, causing outrage. small island states and some vulnerable countries.

The small island nation’s leaders also called for a global tax on the profits of fossil fuel corporations that are making billions of dollars a day during the global energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said on behalf of him and the other small island nations: “While they profit, the planet is on fire.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa called on similar countries to form a “block against climate change victims.”

In the face of criticism that rich countries have suffered from leaders of many developing countries at this year’s international climate meeting, the President of Malawi praised the leaders present in Egypt for their simple appearance.

President Lazarus Chakwera said: “The temptation to withdraw from this year’s COP is great. “But you resisted this temptation and chose the path of courage.”

Chakwerea said any agreement reached at the two-week meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh should recognize the different capabilities of developed countries like the United States and high-productivity countries like China and the United States. developing countries like mine.

So far, China has maintained that it cannot live up to the standards of developed economies like the United States or Europe because it is still lifting millions of its citizens out of poverty. However, pressure is growing on Beijing to step up climate efforts given its huge economic clout.

Jochen Flasbarth, a senior German official and veteran climate negotiator, said China only officially meets the criteria of a developing country.

“In fact, it is the leading emitter worldwide and it is also an extremely prosperous economy,” he said. “That’s why we expect, and this is also being done in some areas, that China will shoulder more responsibility (by national and international).

Meanwhile, Guterres and leaders like Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley say it’s time to get fossil fuel companies to contribute to a fund that financially supports vulnerable countries for the damage. related to the climate they are experiencing.

“It’s time for these companies to pay a global carbon tax on their profits as a source of funding for losses and damages,” Antigua’s Browne said. “The profitable producers of fossil fuels have profited from unwarranted profits at the cost of human civilization.”

And if small islands can’t be taxed globally on fossil fuel profits, Browne proposes to an international court to order polluters to pay for what they’ve done. A team of scientists from Dartmouth College has calculated the specific damage for all countries in the world and the extent of damage caused by other countries, saying it will work well in the courts. international.

Browne also quotes William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to share his frustration with the lack of action.

Browne said: “Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow pass in this small pace from day to day until the last syllable of recorded time. And all of our past days light the way. for a dusty death.” Even though the 27 climate summits “tomorrow is yet to come. Governments and corporations that come to the COP each year make big statements with lofty commitments. But these pledges are only being honored. a part.”

The idea of ​​taxing income from carbon has gained traction in recent months amid sky-high earnings for oil and gas companies even as consumers struggle to pay the cost of heating and heating their homes. refuel. For the first time, delegates at this year’s United Nations climate conference discussed the developing world’s demand that the richest, most polluted countries pay compensation for the damage caused by climate change. caused by climate change, which in the climate negotiations is referred to as “loss and damage”.

The US midterm elections postponed talks on Tuesday, with many environmental campaigners concerned that a defeat to Democrats could make it difficult for President Joe Biden to pursue a full-blown agenda. its climate ambitions.

German climate envoy Jennifer Morgan said the Biden administration’s recent climate legislation has given the US “higher standing” on the international stage.

Asked about the possible impact of the US midterm elections on the negotiations, Morgan said that individual votes “can’t change the fact that we’re in a state of emergency.” climate.”

Also hanging over the conference was the fate of one of Egypt’s most famous pro-democracy activists, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who has been jailed for most of the past decade. His family has pleaded with world leaders to secure his release after he went on a long hunger strike. Abdel-Fattah even stopped drinking on Sunday, the first day of the conference, swearing he was ready to die if not released, his family said.

The head of the United Nations human rights office has called for Abdel-Fattah’s immediate release amid concerns about his health.

Volker Turk, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, said the activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, “is in great danger. The hunger strike puts his life in grave danger.”

Human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani relayed Turk’s comments at Tuesday’s United Nations briefing and said that all activists and others affected by climate change should ” have a seat at the table” at the United Nations climate conference that opened a day earlier in the coastal resort city of Egypt. by Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egypt’s long history of suppressing dissent has sparked controversy over the country’s hosting of the annual conference, known as COP 27, with many international climate activists complaining. complain that host country restrictions are stifling civil society.

On Tuesday, many world leaders took to the stage, including Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of Pakistan, where summer floods caused at least $40 billion in damage and displaced millions. After the speech, conference delegates will delve into negotiations on a range of issues – including the first time around the issue of compensation, known as loss and damage.

Some of the strongest calls to action to date have come from the leaders of poor countries that cause less pollution but often receive a larger share of the damage caused by weather.


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Seth Borenstein and Samy Magdy contributed to this report.


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The Associated Press’s climate and environment coverage receives support from a number of private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.



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